Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings contain Eagles offense with aggressive game plan

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Vikings players, Antoine Winfield, Leslie Frazier Updated: December 29, 2010 - 12:36 AM

PHILADELPHIA -- Antoine Winfield came on a blitz on the second play of the game and sacked Michael Vick. 

That was the first of numerous blitz calls by interim defensive coordinator Fred Pagac in the Vikings 24-14 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Pagac hoped to contain the Eagles high-scoring offense by using an aggressive game plan focused heavily on blitz pressure. Told it looked like he called a blitz every other play in the first half, Pagac smiled and said, "Every two out of three."

Pagac said he didn't know the actual percentage, saying he needed to look at the tape first.

"But it was a lot," he said. "The guys executed. That was the thing."

It started with Winfield, who blitzed at least seven times in the first half and collected two sacks and one quarterback hit. He had a sack/strip/fumble return for a touchdown on Vick at the end of the first half.

"That was the game plan," Winfield said. "Coach told me, ‘We’re going to send you off the edge. Just contain [Vick]. Come up high because we know he likes to spin out.’ He did a great job of calling them. I tried to execute."
 
Winfield joked that Pagac "took me back to Ohio State" with his playcalling. Pagac was Winfield's defensive coordinator at Ohio State.
 
“That’s what I used to do when he was the coordinator for the Buckeyes,” Winfield said. “Whenever my number is called, I’m going to go out there and give maximum effort and I made some plays.”

Said Pagac of Winfield: "He’s been a playmaker since I’ve known the kid."

The players executed the game plan and kept Vick and the Eagles from stacking up big plays.

"They have a really explosive offense and like to run a lot of vertical routes so you have to bring pressure," Winfield said. "If you sit back in that Cover 2, he’ll pretty much pick you apart. But our front did a great job of containing him. He did get loose on some runs, but that’s Michael Vick."
 
The Vikings sacked Vick six times and hit him seven other times. They also forced three turnovers by him.
 
"Our goal was to attack Vick and to make him pause a little bit and we were able to get that done," Coach Leslie Frazier said.
 

 

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